As Lepanto was exploring, developing and operating its mines in Mankayan, it was at the same time building a community complete with a dependable road network, schools, a hospital, churches, recreation areas, theaters, support businesses and livelihood projects, not to mention forests.
Lepanto helped in the construction and maintenance of “in-camp” schools- the Lepanto National High School (LNHS), the Lepanto Elementary (LES), the Marivic Elementary School (MES) and nine pre-school/daycare centers. The LES, MES and LNHS regularly reap not only local awards but also national recognitions. From the year they were established, they have produced 11,000 graduates, many of whom are now excelling in various fields.
Lepanto has produced BIR Commissioner, a mayor, a governor, a congressman and a number of local government officials. Lepanto has also produced a bishop, priests, pastors, nuns, and other religious workers.
The company supports at least 2,000 households. Majority of its workforce are third-generation employees, proof of the favorable working environment and benefits that the company provides. The experience and training that the company provides to its employees make them highly competitive in the global mining industry. Housing units and utilities like water and electricity are provided free to the mine-based employees. Those who cannot be accommodated are given substantial housing allowance.
The company-owned Lepanto Hospital is the main provider of medical services not only to the employees and their dependents but also to the residents of Mankayan and neighboring towns of Buguias, Benguet and Cervantes and Quirino in Ilocos Sur. A secondary hospital and Philhealth-accredited health care center, the Lepanto Hospital has a 30-bed capacity and employs 40 medical practitioners providing basic medical, surgical and dental services. The hospital treats 9,000 to 10,000 patients a year. It was recently upgraded with the purchase of new equipment for the operating room, including a laparoscopy machine. Aside from the hospital services, medical and dental assistance are extended to the communities through medical missions, provision of health apparatus and equipment, and establishment of Botika sa barangay. Starting in 2012, the company holds a biennial medical mission that caters to patients from the host and neighboring communities. In 2016, more than 2,000 patients were served.
Since the company started implementing the Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) in 2002, around P173.40 Million has bent spent for the communities of Mankayan, Benguet and Cervantes and Quirino in Ilocos Sur. More than 11 km roads were constructed to give the farmers easier access to their markets; various schools and barangay hall/multi-purpose halls were built; water systems established; churches rehabilitated and constructed. Livelihood programs and trainings were provided to the community to augment incomes. Continuous information, communication and education campaigns were made to further educate the company’s various stakeholders on the benefits of mining.
Through the Lepanto Educational Assistance Program (LEAP) of the SDMP, indigent students from the different barangays of Mankayan, Benguet, Cervantes, Ilocos Sur and Quirino, Ilocos Sur are sent to college. On average, the LEAP has 450-500 scholars every year. Free full college education is granted to those who are enrolled in state universities and colleges while financial assistance is provided to those studying in private institutions. Since the program started in 2002, 516 scholars have graduated and a number are already working with the company. Aside from LEAP, the company supports the studies of students from the community taking Mining Engineering and Geology. They are provided financial assistance and are assured employment with the company upon their graduation. To date, there have been five grantees under the program.
The company has partnered with various agencies, institutions and organizations to access funds for the establishment of small business enterprises within the community. The Livelihood Association of Lepanto Host Communities (LALEHCom) composed of a number of Lepanto-assisted organizations is slowly working independently from the company. Their longganisa, potato wine and veggie noodles, carrying the name ‘Lepanto’s best’ are gaining popularity even outside Benguet.
From the start of the program in 1997, the company has spent more than P1.450 billion for the protection and enhancement of the environment. Programs are carried out in coordination with community members and residents. Since 1965 when Lepanto started its reforestation program, more than 6.5 million trees have been planted over an area of 800 hectares.
The company maintains Tailings Dam 5A as its main pollution control facility. An 11-meter freeboard is maintained to handle a 500-year flood event, surpassing government standards. As a matter of policy, Lepanto extends assistance to nearby and far-flung communities in times of natural and major calamities. The Lepanto Rescue Team is composed of highly-trained individuals who have on many occasions saved lives and properties. Lepanto’s underground and surface workers are considered to be among the best in industry. Our employees are consistent awardees of the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association.
Lepanto paid to the government a total of P1.385 billion in taxes and fees in the last ten years alone. For the calendar year 2015, Lepanto contributed 67% to the tax collection of the Municipality of Mankayan, Benguet. Mankayan is a first class municipality largely on account of Lepanto’s mining operations.